Original Research

Clearing invasive alien plants as a cost-effective strategy for water catchment management: The case of the Olifants river catchment, South Africa

Tshepo Morokong, James Blignaut, Nonophile Nkambule, Shepherd Mudhavanhu, Thulile Vundla
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 19, No 5 | a1594 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v19i5.1594 | © 2016 Tshepo Morokong, James Blignaut, Nonophile Nkambule, Shepherd Mudhavanhu, Thulile Vundla | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 May 2016 | Published: 12 December 2016

About the author(s)

Tshepo Morokong,
James Blignaut,
Nonophile Nkambule,
Shepherd Mudhavanhu,
Thulile Vundla,

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Abstract

Invasive alien plants have a negative impact on ecosystem goods and services derived from ecosystems. Consequently, the aggressive spread of invasive alien plants (IAPs) in the river catchments of South Africa is a major threat to, inter alia, water security. The Olifants River catchment is one such a catchment that is under pressure because of the high demand for water from mainly industrial sources and unsustainable land-use, which includes IAPs. This study considered the cost-effectiveness of clearing IAPs and compared these with the cost of a recently constructed dam. The methods used for data collection were semistructured interviews, site observation, desktop data analysis, and a literature review to assess the impact of IAPs on the catchment’s water supply. The outcomes of this study indicate that clearing invasive alien plants is a cost-effective intervention with a Unit Reference Value (URV) of R1.44/m3, which compares very favourably with that of the De Hoop dam, the URV for which is R2.93/m3. These results suggest that clearing invasive alien plants is a cost-effective way of catchment management, as the opportunity cost of not doing so (forfeiting water to the value of R2.93/m3) is higher than that of protecting the investment in the dam.


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Crossref Citations

1. The benefits and costs of clearing invasive alien plants in northern Zululand, South Africa
N.P. Nkambule, J.N. Blignaut, T. Vundla, T. Morokong, S. Mudavanhu
Ecosystem Services  vol: 27  first page: 203  year: 2017  
doi: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.04.011